Photo Courtesy of Pinterest
There has been a lot of heart ache that has hit our CLU and Thousand Oaks community recently and it is important that we share our stories. The news spills out the facts, rumors start to surface and we are bombarded with the stories all over social media. Yet, are we asking each other how we are? Do we really know each others stories? We thankfully have our Her Campus Chapter to support each other, but sometimes we just need to write it out. So we, as a Chapter, wanted to share some of our stories from everything that has happened. We all are different majors, years, etc. but we are all going through this together. We hope this brings light to what we are experiencing and that our stories resinate with others. We hope this allows us to stand stronger together.
My heart is broken. Beyond broken, actually. On Thursday our small college town, that no one has ever heard of, faced a tragedy. I am angry. Why am I angry? I am angry that is the way people now know about small little Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks. We are known as the town that has suffered a tragedy on Nov 7, 2018. I have no words to explain all of the emotions I and everyone around me has faced. Each person I keep coming in contact with has a high and then a deep low minutes later, in regards to their emotions. Everyone is trying to cope but I don’t know how to do it for myself. Although I was not there, many of my fellow students were. I am speechless, angry, and in a whirlwind of sadness. I can not believe this happened to my safe “home away from home”. Diary, I am not okay and I am worried about when I will recover along with everyone else in this community. Will we all heal soon?
Interdisciplinary Educational Studies Major, Psychology Minor
I was supposed to be there. I was going to tell my friend, “screw it, let’s go.” However, for some reason, something told me no. I decided to take a shower and get ready for bed. When I came out of the shower, I had a message from one of my friends asking if I was okay. I was confused why she had asked me that, but I just responded yes. When I walked out of the shower, my friends told me the news. I immediately messaged everyone I knew who might have been there that night. One of my friends was still at the place. I didn’t know what to do. So, I just drove there in case they decided to message me, or anyone just needed a ride. Then, it was just a waiting game. There was a lot of silence. I kept thinking, it was college night. It was college night and the shooter definitely knew. Some of my friends are there. Some of my friends could have been there. No one slept that night. All of Cal Lutheran was awake. Waiting. Hoping that they soon caught the shooter. At first it was described as a “terrorist attack”. But later, it was described as “Ian David Long had PTSD”. The first thing that came to my mind was, “that’s bullshit”, PTSD does not cause violence. I don’t care if Ian had PTSD, I don’t care if he was a former marine, I don’t care if he was a “quiet, normal guy, [who] kept to himself”, I don’t care if he was an introvert, I don’t care about what plans he had after high school, I don’t care if his friends thought that “this was not like him”; but I do care about the 12 lives taken away due to his actions. I do care about the people who were there that night and have now become traumatized. I do care about my friends who were there and have been affected due to this tragedy. I care about the mother who stated that she doesn’t want prayers, that she wants gun control. I care about the father who apologized to everyone for not being able to prevent Ian from shooting anymore. I care, and I hope, that sooner rather than later, we will all come together to prevent more tragedies like these from occurring.”
Criminal Justice and Psychology Double Major
I’ve sat and thought about it all weekend. How do I start this entry? How do I express what I’m feeling? There are honestly no words to describe the world I feel I am in; the safety of myself and my loved ones. On November 8, I woke up to a text from my dad saying ’emergency, call me’. So I immediately picked up the phone to hear that Borderline, a place where many of my close friends go and CLU family hangs out was involved in a mass shooting. No names were announced yet when I had called my dad and I immediately panicked. I checked my best friends locations and also texted all of my other close friends. I found out they were safe, but I knew that there were others who weren’t and my heart was heavy. I’m not the type of person who watches the news, but I was glued to every and all news stations that day.
I went to work later and shortly found out over the PA system at the school I work at that there had been a fire that started and the 101 was closed both ways. My initial thought was ‘how am I going to get home?’ When driving home in the heavy traffic, I broke down when I saw the flames. A year hasn’t even gone by since the Thomas fires and my home, the place I’ve grown up, is again up in flames. Over a long weekend with family and my boyfriend, I felt a little better; I processed a lot, I cried and I was angry. Driving through Thousand Oaks, being back on campus is an eerie feeling, to be honest. It doesn’t feel the same, it’s somber and it’s scary. I don’t feel as safe as I once did. The world is different. However, it’s important to know community is key to anything and everything. I want to say, I am very thankful for my CLU community, the community of Ventura County and my family and friends. I don’t really know how to end this entry and I think that’s okay. We are all going to be taking everything day by day now… We’ll be okay and we will find hope again. I just hope we all continue to love each other.”
Interdisciplinary Educational Studies Major; Psychology Minor
I was evacuated from my home in the middle of the night. I only packed an extra outfit and my important documents because I didn’t know that the fire was so close to us. I thought we’d be gone for the night, instead we were gone until Monday. As me and my aunt were driving down the 101, I looked out the window in awe of what was in front of me. I was looking at the dark red orange flames blazing across the hilltops. Once we got to our family’s house we sat and watched the news. It seemed like that’s what we watched all weekend. I was captivated, in the worst way, at how enormous the fire truly was. I sat for two days watching the fires eat away and everything in its path and hoping not to see my own home. Hoping I wouldn’t recognize the streets they were announcing. All the while, during commercials I went through Snapchat and most of my friends were posting about how it was snowing where they were. And I personally am not the biggest fan of the snow, but all I wanted at that time was to have to worry about how cold it would be walking to my classes or back to my dorm. Instead I had to worry if I would even be able to go back home or to school for all I knew they were burning. As if the fire wasn’t enough, every so often it would pop back into my mind that there was a shooting just ten minutes from where, thankfully, I was sleeping. I never imagined I would be in the next community that was struck by such devastation. But when I sat and thought about it, I wasn’t all that surprised. The shock was that the community was mine, not that it happened. If I wasn’t attending CLU it still would’ve happened and then what? We talk about it along with all the other schools and communities that have been hurt with the same devastation? I didn’t know how to deal with it then and I don’t know how to deal with it now. On the night of the shooting I knew the shooter was dead but I couldn’t sleep. The next day, I couldn’t sleep because I was being evacuated. The next three days I could barely sleep, I was scared of what I could wake up to. Today I am back in my bed, but nothing feels the same, and I go to bed worrying about everything and I wake up worried. I still have my bag packed, just in case. This isn’t what I’m supposed to worry about during my first semester of college.”
I went to bed at 11 pm and got a call at midnight; it was my boyfriend who’s an RA and was on duty. He called to ask me if I knew anyone that had gone to Borderline tonight without giving any context to the question. I told him I knew maybe one or two people and he told me there was a shooting and that’s all he knew. After that, all I could think was “I was going to go. I wanted so badly to go, but I was just a little too sick to go out; I would have been there. My friends and I were so excited to go back again after our first-time last Wednesday, we were all going to be there.” I told my roommate what had happened and we laid there, scared and in shock. We couldn’t bare laying alone in our room, so we went to the lounge to watch the news, we watched for hours. Our hearts dropped and broke for everyone on the news, everyone that was there, and everyone that was woken up with a horrifying call. As I sat there and thought about why I hadn’t gone, I knew it was beyond me. I knew God had been the one that had made me sick, that had given me a reason not to be there. He was the one that kept my friends and I all safe in our dorm tonight. I have never been so grateful for the flu in my life. I am sending so many hugs, thoughts, and prayers to everyone that experienced or was affected by this horrific event. Dear Lord, please walk alongside Thousand Oaks and hug it tight in this time of need.
With continual love and prayers, “
Interdisciplinary Educational Studies Major; Communications Minor
I don’t understand what’s happening God. I grew up in one of the safest towns in the country. Agoura Hills has been a bubble that my friends and I have felt safe in our whole lives. A shooting happened just a few days ago nearly down the street from my school and now I’ve been evacuated from my house three separate times since then because of the Woosley fire. Several of my friends houses have gone up in flames leaving them with nothing but ashes and memories of their childhood homes. The vivid orange flames engulfed the mountains of Las Virgenes as my family and I drove back into Agoura Hills Thursday night. We slept in our cars that night and found a safe parking lot near Valley Circle. My brother has down syndrome and has no idea what was going on, he’s doing the best he can to be okay in this uncomfortable situation. It’s really confusing for him he’s unable to speak and is really worried. Everything happened so fast we packed up and just left. We grabbed the most important things we could, our cat and each other and got out. The unforgettable image of the red sky and orange flames will never leave my mind.”
Communications, Emphasis: PR Advertising
Around midnight on Thursday, November 8th, I woke up to an RA pounding on our door. They were making sure that my roommates and I were all accounted for. I was still in a daze, and honestly had no idea what was going on. My roommate then told me that there had been a mass shooting at Borderline. I laid in my bed, still partly asleep, and tried to comprehend what she had just told me. My roommate and a few of our friends had made plans to go to Borderline that night. I even wrote it down in my planner (if you know me, you know that whatever I write down in my planner is happening). By some miracle, or whatever you can call it, we ended up not going. But, the thought of almost being there is scary enough for me. All of the “what if” scenarios have been popping into my head, and while I keep telling myself that I am safe and okay, I can’t help but think about what could have happened had I gone to Borderline that night. Going to a college in “one of the safest cities in the country” has always given me a sense of comfort when I was walking alone on campus or going somewhere by myself. However, this has been a very rude awakening that bad things can happen anywhere and to anyone. Right now I am scared and still partly in shock, and I think that’s okay. It’s going to take a while for everything to feel normal again. Everyone in the community is affected by this, and we all need to grieve in our own ways. However, we cannot and will not let this drag us down forever. Thousand Oaks is such a strong community, and I know we will grow through this adversity. I am so thankful and blessed that I get to wake up and live another day, but I will never forget the 12 innocent lives that were lost on November 7th, 2018.
Interdisciplinary Education Studies Major, Psychology Minor
Wednesday: November 7, 2018 – Today all hell broke loose. It was generally a pretty good day, nothing out of the normal, I went to all my classes, everything was okay. I was down in my boyfriend’s room watching Netflix, some of his roommates and roommates’ friends were there hanging out. We had just made a late-night Starbucks run when we heard. There was a shooting at Borderline Bar, at first, I thought I misheard, but then he said it a second time. I immediately texted my roommates to make sure they were all okay and then went straight to my room. It was a restless night, we were up for hours watching the news, looking online for updates, and texting our family and friends. I was up for hours anxiously watching the news until they confirmed the shooter was found. Thursday: November 8, 2018 – Today everything only got worse. I woke up in a panic, still in disbelief that there really was a shooting, it really was a few miles from campus, and I really could have been there. All classes were cancelled, campus was quiet and somber, like a blanket or sadness was laid across campus. Not too long after I woke up, I then found out there were 2 brush fires rapidly spreading because of the high-speed winds. I watched as the flames spread over the hill moving faster than I ever knew a fire could move. Another restless and stressful night was to come.
Friday: November 9, 2018 – It was around 3am when we finally evacuated. After a mental breakdown and overwhelming panic over not having a ride while the fires got closer to campus, we drove to Oxnard with my roommate and then my boyfriend’s mom took us to his house in Redlands where we stayed until we felt safe going back to campus. Monday: November 12, 2018 – I ended up not having classes all day because of the aftermath of the fires, professors were evacuated and there were additional brush fires with the Hill and Woolsey Fires. Later this evening we went on lockdown due to a bomb threats at apartments near campus. Another sleepless night was upon me and I would wake up in a panic again in the morning; as I have since the shooting. I wasn’t there when the shooting happened, I was lucky, my house wasn’t burned down by fires and neither was campus, there was no bomb explosion, but every day, each of these events haunts me.”
Global Studies Major
These past few days have been a continuous roller coaster. Although, I myself was not at Borderline that night, it makes me wonder about it happening anywhere I go. Being a Criminal Justice major, I have continuously thought of being safe wherever I go and being aware, but it’s not fair having to be worried wherever I go. It made me realize that this can happen anywhere. The fires weren’t helpful either, they just add on to the anxiety I keep on feeling. I hope things get better, but I know that will take some time and it probably won’t get better. It sucks to live in a world where this is normal. All of this is so normalized within our society and it’s not fair to have to grow up like this. I know that everyone goes through things differently. Personally, I’m glad we had our classes back on Monday. I feel like I needed this in order to help me. I was just at home all weekend feeling helpless. At least with school, I know that I have some sort of control with it. I don’t think it’s fair to bash on our President and administration. They’ve been here continuously and have provided the upmost support, which is something that wasn’t shared on social media when they decided to make it a viral situation. I want to thank Dr. Kimball as well as the administration for all of their support and giving the students their space in order to go about this matter. I hope things get better. I want all of us to be okay. But we have to be united, not separated. There needs to be stricter laws throughout this country in order to stop situations such as these from happening. It’s upsetting. And it hurts even more when it happens so close to home.”
Criminal Justice Major
I don’t know where to start.
On Thursday morning I woke up to multiple messages on my phone. At first I thought a lot of people wanted to chat with me on the same day, but then I realized it was 7am. I opened the text from my sister first. She had sent a screenshot from a friend asking if I was ok. I sat up in my bed confused after realizing all the messages were asking about me. I pulled down my notifications on my phone and saw the headlines that I had missed in my sleepy state when picking it up: Mass Shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks. My whole body went numb and I suddenly felt sick. I frantically replied to messages telling my family, friends and anyone else who had sent one that I was ok. Shocked, numb, and upset with tears flowing down my face, but ok. I decided to go home in the morning with class being cancelled. I wanted nothing more than to hug my family, snuggle my dog and sleep in my bed after a home cooked dinner. As I sat on the sofa in my lounge watching the news of now not only the shooting but two wildfires starting less than 24 hours later in Thousand Oaks, the reality of what was happening started to hit me. The small town I decided to go to college in, one of the safest in the US was now known worldwide. I feel anxious and fearful. I’m scared to go out by myself in fear of what may happen in a “safe” place. I also feel thankful for my friends being ok and safe. I’m thinking of all the victims and those who were at Borderline. I’m thinking of those who have lost their homes and community to the wildfires, and those who are still worried. They will be in my thoughts and heart for a very long time.”
Everything came to a stop at 11:36 pm last Wednesday. I didn’t know my heart could feel like it was racing while simultaneously feeling like it stopped beating. That lasted 2 seconds before my brain registered what I needed to do. I’m an SRA and I had two thoughts- which residents were there and which RAs were there. Panicking didn’t feel like an option, I needed to check in. I texted two RA friends of mine. One was safe and another was in hiding; all I could think was ‘dear God please keep them safe.’ I’m keeping in contact with my staff and trying to figure out if they’re all safe. I stayed out in my living room with my door open, waiting for residents to walk by. I want to cry- but that’s not going to help my staff, that’s not going to help my residents, that’s not going to help the people who need help. I was only grounded by the presence of my roommate/best friend and boyfriend, we went out to the lounge and turned on the news. It was hard to watch interview after interview, clip after clip, of people running, bleeding, and crying. How could this happen, especially in our city? I only got about an hour of “sleep” because I was helping residents. Thursday burst into flames as the fires broke out. My heart broke again because how much more could my residents, my friends, my staff, this city take? I got up again and tried to calm residents down and watched as some left. I hated to think that they felt like they weren’t safe here. I stayed on campus all weekend because I was on duty. I forgot about eating and sleeping. Monday came by and we’re notified to be on lockdown, my breath catches again. I’m out of my room in a second and my heart breaks a little bit more and tears are so close to falling as I leave my roommate, my friends, and my boyfriend in my room and as I text my family “just in case I love you all.” I’m in the lounge again with my staff, staring out our glass doors and watching. My heart was warmed by those who reached out to make sure I was safe.
I haven’t allowed myself to think about what’s happened and how it’s affected me; if I do, I’ll cry and maybe I won’t be able to get it together fast enough in case something else happens. I’ve never been so happy to see my roommates/best friends, to see my friends, to see my staff in a less stressful setting and to see familiar faces around campus again. I hope everyone also knows that they aren’t alone. If they reach out, they’ll find someone close to talk to, to be with, to grieve with or to laugh with. Cal Lutheran has always been one of the kindest places I’ve had the privilege of being in- we’re kind to each other and we care, always. Wilfred Peterson says “The world needs less heat and more light. It needs less of the heat of anger, revenge, retaliation, and more of the light of ideas, faith, courage, aspiration, joy, love and hope.” I want to tell everyone to bring more light to the world, be courageous, aspire to be better, bring joy to others, hope for a better world, have faith in yourself and your ability to help someone, and most importantly remember to love. I wish I could tell everyone in Cal Lutheran, in Thousand Oaks that while we’ve lost quite a bit in the past few days, I have faith and hope that we all have the courage and aspiration to use the love we have for each other and for our city to start moving towards and better and more beautiful world.”
Political Science and Economics Double Major